PORT ANGELES — A seven-month state investigation of Clallam County Treasurer’s Office records has concluded that $500,000 is missing from the agency’s coffers, according to a joint statement issued today by the Sheriff’s Office and Treasurer’s Office.
An ongoing investigation by the state Auditor’s Office that stretched back to 2004 uncovered the amount, which until now officials have said only is more than $1,500 — the threshold for a charge first-degree felony theft, which carries with it a minimum year in jail.
“The Washington State Auditor’s Office has completed a review of the Treasury Office records and found in excess of $500,000 missing,” states the joint statement, issued under the Sheriff’s Office letterhead.
“The audit and investigation was triggered by the action of a county employee in the Treasurer’s Office, who has been terminated.”
The suspect, Catherine Betts, is no longer living in Port Angeles but the state Auditor’s Office knows where she is, Sheriff Bill Benedict said Tuesday.
“There is no indication she is a flight risk,” he said.
The state Auditor’s Office would not comment on the statement.
The Auditor’s Office is expected to release its report on the theft by the end of January.
It will be turned over to the state Attorney General’s Office, with a subsequent investigation conducted by the Port Angeles Police Department as the lead agency being assisted by the Sheriff’s Office, Benedict said.
———-Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-417-3536 or at [email protected]